tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 28, 2013 6:00pm-6:59pm PDT
which is just -- it's good. >> jim mcgreevey, thank you for reminding us about the importance of grace and reclaiming humanity. it is a wonderful story. an incredible documentary. >> there aren't many people i go on to very bluntly who are as well versed and in this place. so i'm very grateful what you are doing here. >> it this is wonderful team i work with. thank you so much, governor, great to have you on the program. >> 24u. >> that's all for now. the ra chel m "the rachel maddow show" begins now. >> good evening. thank you. that was a spectacular interview. >> thank you. new developments in the colorado murder, a second person arrested in the killing. just hours before colorado's governor was due to sign historic new gun legislation for that state, just hours before that bill signing, the head of
colorado prison, he was at home, someone rang his doorbell, he answered the door and he was shot dead on his doorstep. the following day, the governor of colorado announced the murder at an emotional press conference early in the morning and he went ahead with the bill signing as planned. the following day, on thursday, 600 miles away, in north central texas, a sheriff's deputy tried to pull over for a routine traffic violation a car that matched the description of the car that had been seen near prison chief tom clements's home in colorado the night of the murder. when the sheriff's deputy tried to pull him over for apparently running a red light. the driver of the car pulled out a gun and shot the deputy three times and took off. there was a 100 miles an hour car chase in texas and ended in a crash and shootout with police. the driver of the car was shot and killed by police that day. we subsequently learned the shooter was this man, a parolee
in and out of colorado prisons a decade and released most recently from a stint that involved significant time in solitary confinement this past january. there were also bomb making materials in the suspect's vehicle. obviously texas authorities are very interested where this young man was going next with the bomb making terms. authorities are also reporting the ballistics test they did on the governor recovered in texas showed the gun used in the shootout with texas police was the same gun used to kill colorado prisons chief tom clements. now, a second person has been arrested in conjunction with this murder. the arrest was made last night. the arraignment was today. the "denver post" today ran this image of the arrestee's lawyer trying to himself avoid being photographed at the arraignment. the person arrested in the case is this young woman, 22 years old, purportedly lives with her parents in colorado. her relationship with the dead
suspect in the tom clements murder is as of yet unknown. what she has been arrested for or charged with is getting him the gun. remember, he was only released from prison in january. he is a convicted felon. convicted felons are not legally allowed to get guns. that's what background checks are for and the root of the argument why background checks should apply to all gun sales so convicted felons will be blocked by the background check system no matter where they try to buy themselves a gun. in this case it is alleged the suspect, ebel, the way he got around the background check problem he could not pass it because he is a felon, the way he got around the problem he got her to buy the gun because she could pass the background check and then once she had the gun she passed it on to him. if that is what happened and what is alleged by this arrest, what happened there is called a straw purchase. a straw purchase is illegal.
it's not very illegal. the "denver post" called the head of the denver division of the atf to get some context on this new arrest, this new development in the case. he told them quote there is little to no punishment for being a straw purchaser, gang members know it, drug trafficking organizations know it. when democrats move some elements of president obama's gun reform through the judiciary committee a few weeks ago, it would have made it a felony and bigger deal, that measure passed out of committee with all the democratic votes on the committee but only one republican, iowa senator chuck grassley, all the other senators on the committee voted against strengthening the penalties for straw purchases, penalties for people who buy a weapon because they can pass the background check and knowingly pass the weapon off to someone who cannot pass the background check. these are the senators who voted against that in committee, orrin
hatch, lindsey graham, ted cruz, jeff flake and mike sessions all voted against strengthening the penalties for straw purchases. also today, there has been a huge release of new information about the elementary school shooting at newtown, connecticut, information in some cases different from what we thought we had known before. in detailed very long search warrant reports released by connecticut prosecutors today we learned a lot of new information about sandy hook. we learned about the large numbers of weapons of all kinds record from home to of the sandy hook shooter, different knives and swords and blades, a number of guns including the gun the shooter used to kill his mother before going to the school that morning. a huge amount, myriad of different kinds of ammunition. a lot of shotgun ammunition, some handgun ammunition and ammunition for the rifle with which the shooter killed 21st graders and six adults at sandy
hook elementary. we also learned more today and different details than told previously about how the shooter at sandy hook was am ble to do much damage, kill so many kids, shoot so many rounds into so many people so quickly it was over before police could arrive even though police responded within minutes. we had previously been told the killer shot 152 bullets in less than five minutes. we're still told it was less than five minutes but now we're told it was 154 bullets. quoting from the prosecutor today, the shooter shot his way into the building and killed 20 children and six adults with a bushmaster 223 caliber model xm 15. 154 spent 223 casings recovered from the scene. it's currently estimated from the time the shooter shot his way into the school until he took his own life was less than five minutes. recovered from the person of the shooter were three 30 round magazines for the bushmaster each containing 30 rounds, located in the area of the
shootings were six additional 30 round magazines containing zero rounds, zero rounds, zero rounds, 10 rounds, 11 rounds and 13 rounds respectively. this is the really new information here. the new and potentially important information, about the masks not all being empty when they were found. they were all 30 round magazines, extended magazines that used to be banned for sale under the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. presuming all the 30 round magazines started full, that he put 30 bullets in each one, that means he shot through all 30 bullets in the first magazine, all 30 bullets in the seconds magazine, all 30 bullets in a third magazine, but with the other three, he did not shoot all the way through them before he discarded them and loaded in a new full one. if there were ten rounds and 11 rounds and 13 rounds left in those magazines he ejected they found on the scene, that means he didn't shoot all the way
through them, he didn't shoot all 30, 20 bullet, 19 bullets, 17 bullets, before popping out that magazine and getting a fresh one. there were also still rounds in the rifle when they found him. he stopped shooting only because the gun apparently jammed. also reporting today police have the rides the shooter may have been simulating the video games he loved to play by switching out the ammunition in the bushmaster as he moved from room to room and before the magazine was empty. it is a characteristic of hard core gamers to constantly switch magazines so that they are never out of ammunition when entering a room. whether or not that is actually what he was doing -- remember courant is subscribing that as police the rising, whether or not that was what he was actually doing we now know with sent the shooter used only high capacity magazines at sandy hook and we know that was a choice. governor dan malloy of
connecticut noting today we know he used 30 round magazines to do it and they aloud him to do maximum damage in a short period of time and he left the lower capacity magazines at home. remember, wave now got the search warrants and so now we know what was there. every bit of ammo and firearm in the shooter's home was purchased legally. his mother was not on the black market buying illegal or modified weapons she bought like a law abiding citizen. she bought what was legal. she would have only been able to buy 10 round magazines if the assault weapons ban had not been all allowed to expire in 2004 or brought back after it expired. they would not have had those extended magazines lying around in their well armed home. why bring that to the scene you want to kill as many first graders as possible? why bring the 10 round magazine? why handicap yourself with a 10
round magazine when you can instead kill so many more people so much faster with the big magazines? so leave that one at home but bring the 30 rounders. part of the beltway come mop wisdom that nothing is going to happen, there is a connecticut effect and it's wearing off and people don't care anymore and the nra will win again because nobody cares to insist on popular policies the nra . one of the constituent parts of that common wisdom is that presidents cannot stay focused on issues like this for very long. presidents don't stay focused on this stuff after the immediate impact wears off. a president will not stick with it to fight the inertia the nra is counting on. this president has not been like that, pretty much relentless on this issue 100 straight days. today, president obama hosted families from newtown at the white house. he took on, head on that common wisdom if you just wait long enough, we will all stop caring.
>> i read an article in the news just the other day wondering is washington -- has washington missed its opportunity because as time goes on after newtown, somehow people start moving on and forgetting? let me tell you the people here, they don't forget. grace's dad is not forgetting. the mom hasn't forgotten. the notion two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in newtown happens and we've moved on to other things that's not who we are. that's not who we are. i want to make sure every american is listening today.
less than 100 days ago that happened. and the entire country was shocked. the entire country pledged we would do something about it and this time would be different. shame on us if we've forgotten. i haven't forgotten those kids. shame on us if we've forgotten. tears aren't enough, expressions of sympathy aren't enough. speeches aren't enough. we've cried enough, we've known enough heartbreak. what we're proposing is not radic radical. it's not taking way anybody's gun rights. it's something that if we are serious, we will do.
>> joining us now is senator richard blumenthal, senior senator from the state of connecticut. thank you for being here tonight. i really appreciate your time, sir. >> thank you. great to be with you again. >> president obama said today if we are serious we will get something done on gun safety. you and i have talked a hot about whether or not that is going to happen. at over 100 days in now, what's your assessment of the trajectory that we're on? >> we are going to have votes. the president called for votes for the sake of the victims and their families for all americans and those votes will be in april. we have a critical task during these next few weeks which the president described very very eloquently and powerfully which is to mobilize that majority of americans, the 90 and 80% that are for common sense and sensible measures on gun violence and make sure that their voices are heard. the president said very
movingly, nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. those voices are a silent majority that needs to be vocal and need to be galvanized and organized. i think the votes can be there for a ban on illegal trafficking. the instance you described earlier involviing ebel that killed the correction officer in colorado and killed another person on his way to shooting the police officer who tried to apprehend him. classic straw purchase and should be banned. background checks to prevent him from having weapons, deranged people like adam lanza from having access. the sheer volume of bullets and ammunition and rounds in that war arsenal is absolutely stunning. we need to make sure that we keep those ammunition and firearms out of the hands of
dangerous people. school safety and mental health issues. those core provisions i think have a lot of support. we need americans to remind my colleagues in the senate their voices have to be heard. >> it struck me today that we've been chronicling on this show the relentless political activism on this issue. the beltway common wisdom is people will forget about it because people will stop talking about it. people won't stop talking about it in part because there has been so much organized political pressure. at a grassroots level people are not letting this go. it struck me today following these new revelations, both from the newtown shooting but corrections police shooting, part of the reason the pressure doesn't feel like it's letting up is because everyday there's a new revelation about a new horrific piece of gun violence. seems like the mere prevalence of the amount of gun violence in the country is enough to keep this in the headlines provided
we see those as having political consequences. i wonder if you see it that way. >> i think that these kinds of rampant violent acts. remember, it's 2500 more people have been killed since newtown alone. 30,000 i think a year are killed as a result of gun violence. this problem afflicts our neighborhoods and streets throughout the country in urban environments and suburban. all across the country, everybody has a stake in it. the repeated acts, i think, do have a political impact. but the revelation's also about the newtown search warrants drive home the fact that the size of the magazines makes a real difference. as you put it very well, adam lanza left at home the small capacity magazine because he knew the more builts he could fire more rapidly more lethally,
the more destructive he could b be. that is why i am going to be helping to lead a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines that will be offered as amendment. it may not be part of the core bill that goes to the floor of the senate but i am hopeful there will be votes on it. >> senators richard blumenthal, senior member of the senate judiciary committee. thank you for coming back. >> thank you. people in the gun reform debate who say there's no functional difference between assault rifles and other kinds of rifles, between extended magazines and normal magazines and the people who commit mass shootings think there's a difference. the shooter in newtown left his 10 round magazine at home and took the 30s when he went to that school. he also left a bolt action rifle at home and took the semi-automatic assault rifle. they make these decisions when they're being strategic wanting
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the country, rallies of events planned by organizing for actions and mayors against illegal guns. mayors against illegal guns also released this rather powerful new ad. check it out. >> we dropped jesse off in the morning december 14th, gave me a hug and kiss and said, i love you dad and i love mom, too. >> our daughter, grace, was 7 years old. she couldn't wait to go to school. she would skip down the driveway. >> my sister loved teaching at sandy hook. every student would say i hope i get her next year. >> she always wanted to be a teacher. >> i got a 911 call there was a shooting at sandy hook elementary school. >> we need to remember the 26 victims who lost their lives. >> she just wanted to teach little kids. that was her goal and she died doing it. >> that was the last day i ever saw jesse alive. want to prevent any other family from having to go through
what we're going through. >> don't let the memory of newtown fade without doing something real. >> demand action now. >> that ad is supposed to air on cable tv and on broadcast tv, specifically in connecticut. it's targeted at the connecticut state legislature. it's meant to get them to enact gun reforms like comprehensive background checks and ban on high capacity magazines in the state where newtown happened. new york state and colorado have taken those kinds of actions since newtown but connecticut has not. connecticut democrats say they planned to but yet to pass any new legislation since newtown. mayors against illegal guns frankly not just with this ad but everything they're doing are kind of in overdrive now. in addition to these ads and 100 events around the country, they announced a $12 million ad buy, a huge buy particularly we're
not at an election, $12 million ad buy to run in states where the group thinks they can most influence the upcoming senate vote on gun control efforts. mayors against illegal guns have timed this huge ad buy specifically to this congressional recess happening right now. the house and senate are not in session right now, on break. the idea with running the ads now is senators are home in their districts and will see this ad airing in their hometown media and so will their constituents. >> for me, guns are for hunting and protecting my family. i believe in the second amendment and i'll fight to protect it. with rights come responsibilities. that's why i support comprehensive background checks so criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can't buy guns. that protects my rights and my family. >> tell congress don't protect criminals, vote to protect gun rights and our families with comprehensive background checks. demand action now. >> that's the ad with the $12
million buy. it's targeted specifically at 15 senators, 10 republicans and five democrats. one of those five democrats, joe donnelly of indiana has now come out to say he supports background checks. if you're wondering if this strategy is likely to be more broadly effective, one metric there is the right thinks it will be effective. it seems they're worried enough about it potentially being effective they're freaking out about it. the fox news channel our friends across the street have taken to denouncing the ad as fake. obviously fake because obviously no real responsible gun owner would advocate for background checks for gun purchases. they have decided on fox dayside and fox morning show the reason you can tell this ad cannot possibly depict an authentic actual gun owner, because as you can see in the ad, he's pointing his gun at the children. seriously, that is the argument fox news channel is making to
assure its viewers in these states who will be seeing $12 million worth of this ad it cannot possibly be an authentic gun owner would support background checks. fox says you can see in this ad isn't a real responsible gun owner who owns a shotgun because as you can see in the ad he's pointing the ad at the children. that's the way it's being portrayed on fox news now. that is a great argument for the blind people who cannot see fox news themselves and have it described to them by someone who will not lie to them about what the ad actually shows the way fox news lies to them. kind of makes you think it's getting under their skin, doesn't it? pain signals to your brain.ing bayer advanced aspirin blocks pain at the site. try the power of bayer advanced aspirin. [ male announcer ] when you wear dentures
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by their second kid, every mom is an expert and more likely to choose luvs. after thousands of diaper changes, they know what works. luvs lock away wetness better than huggies for a fraction of the cost live, learn, & get luvs. march 29th, 1973 was a chaotic day in this exact building i sit right now. i know it was chaotic not because i was here on march 29th, 1973. i was a couple of days away from being born. i know it was chaotic here that night because of what happened on the air that night from this building which broadcast to nbc news. this is how "nightly news" started that broadcast. as a general rule in television keep in mind a black screen with no pictures on it is not a good thing, particularly on "nightly news." that's what they had. >> this day will go down in
history on the 29th of march, 1973, any united states ended its active involvement in the vietnam war, the day americans had prayed for has finally come. >> a complete lack of pictures. the visuals all fell through for the lead story on the "nightly news". that was not enough reason to kill the lead story because the lead story was a huge historic deal. 40 years ago tomorrow, the last american combat troops left vietnam, nine years after the gulf incident where we were told a north vietnamese boat fired on an american destroyer for no reason at all. the last of our combat troops left vietnam 40 years ago tomorrow. we think of the vietnam war as having fundamentally changed us as a country. it really did. changed us in a bunch of different ways, even people who did not fight in the war. the movement to stop the war ended up having a profound social impact on our country,
defined a decade or more for people in the anti-war movement and people who weren't in the movement but saw our nation's politics changed by it. in foreign policy terms, vietnam changed us to the extent that this gulf disaster wasn't supposed to happen and we weren't supposed to get into another war in which our leaders were not honest why we were getting into another war in the first place. we weren't supposed to do that again. we did do that again but we thought that was not supposed to happen. the other way vietnam was supposed to have changed us as a country, specifically about the americans who fought there. long, very bloody, guerrilla conflict fout significantght by not want to fight it but were made to and when they got home and too often with too much regularity, we failed to separate the men who had no choice to fight or the men who chose to fight from the fact the war they fought was an unpopular war. the more than 2.5 million
veterans were not welcomed home the way they should have been. that translated too often to them not getting medical care and benefits and policy attention they deserved and been promised when they went over there. after vietnam, however else it did or did not change us as a country, we vowed the way vietnam veterans were treated when they came home, we vowed that would not happen again. we would not make that mistake again. we will never again compound the impact of war itself on veterans by disrespecting their war-time service, even if we didn't like that war. the aftermath of the vietnam war made that a nonpartisan commitment in our country. and yet right now, with the war in iraq over and with the end of the war in afghanistan, at least in sight, we are screwing some stuff up when it comes to how we're treating our veterans, coming home from our generation's long wars. it's not at all like it was after vietnam. it has very different contours, there is still a problem. when our veterans return home
with zanlts and they cannot work because of their service connected disabilities they file for disability benefits. those new first-time claims are taking nine months on average to process, for some people taking years. there's a benefits backlog at the department of veterans affairs that is embarrassing. the problem did not start under president obama but also did not get better under the course of his administration and thus far gotten worse. the problem in the last few years we have had way more veterans eligible for all sorts of benefits. no, sir were 30epolicy changes e overtly and we knew the consequences would be way more veterans in the system and we had way more veterans returning from war than any time in the last decade. that was foreseeable. the obama's administration's va has more claims to process. that's true and on purpose and true the v.a. knew more veterans would be coming home and filing claims but didn't come up with a system that could handle it.
in terms of the coverage of the story and national awareness of the story, it may seem a little bit silly. i think it's important how many people know about this story and can repeat to you the basics of it. i think it's important last night comedy central did it and "the daily show" with jon stewart picked up on this story and as they always do, did an amazing job with it and because of that, tons more people know about this than otherwise would. >> the defense department uses a medical tracking program called alta, while the va uses a generally superior program called vista. those two programs are unable -- i swear to you, this is true, those two programs are unable to communicate with each other. how insane is this complication? even the analogy explaining why the two computer systems can't work together is fundamentally
flawed. >> let me use this analogy. an xbox and a playstation can play the same game on the same tv screen but they don't talk together. >> right. that makes sense. here's the thing. an xbox and playstation don't talk because they're competitors. their mission is to destroy each other. which is not the relationship we expect from the part of government that takes care of our disabled veterans and the part of government that creates them. [ applause ] >> so while i guess you could spin the thing there, so i guess you could spend a billion dollars over four years, trying to get one kid's xbox games to work with another kid's playstation games, or as the family's parent or commander in chief, you could just command we're going to use the xbox.
>> the va knows it has a problem. the va does not defend the backlog or say it's not a problem but they do say it's going to get better even though they've been saying that a long time and no evidence it's true. it's not getting better, it's getting worse. finally we had someone from the va on the show to talk about it. tommie source, himself an iraq war veteran and assistant secretary at the va. he came here to talk to us about it. i'm grateful he did it. they have not been willing to do it for a long time. reluctant to talk to national press. glad to have mr. soe e sowers h. instead of me screaming to the ethernet. what would a new veteran coping with ptsd unable to work because of it, what could that hypothetical new veteran expect from the va's disability claims
process. here's what tommie sowers said. >> when it comes to actual treatment, there's immediate assistance out there. we have a veterans crisis line. 1-800-273-talk. ov many have called this number. they can walk into our 1800 points of care. in new york there's five vet centers. this is for veterans, their families to help with readjustments. i want to make sure that's clear they can get the help they need. >> i want to make sure it's clear they can get the help they need. the version of this is we are open for business. the implication is veterans can walk into any va clinic or health care and get help immediately. i have to make clear that's not the case. according to the va's numbers just under half new veterans get to see a doctor within the time period the va says is acceptable
within two weeks according to the va. you ask the government accountability office they have no idea how long they're waiting to receive care. we have no idea how long they're waiting to receive care at veterans facilities because the reported data from the va is unreliable. we contacted them today and they reemphasized they offer emergency services for veterans at vet centers and that crisis line tommie mentioned at 1-800-273-talk is a way to get immediate crisis care. that is great. beyond emergencies it is not at all clear people are getting the help they need or the va itself says they ought to be getting nor is it true they're getting their benefits any time near they should be getting their benefits. this is a screwed up situation and one we promised as a nation to never screw up again. how does this get fixed. joining us now is the smartest guy i know, chris hayes.
he has a new show. called "all in with chris hayes." mr. hayes, congratulations. >> thank you very much. >> are you completely swamped with preparations? >> yes. i'm swamped. i was going to say overwhelmed. not quite overchemped but planning a lot of work. >> you are plan ang ning an amb show unlike what any has done for cable. >> yes, with the timeliness of the time of day and how far ahead we can book and multi-vocal and conversational, a lot of different voices and a lot of curiosity together and finding areas of tension and disagreement and conflict that are surprising or new or aren't the ones we rehearse everyday in our national politics. >> in all the press, which has all been good press, i would say, knock on wood, about your launch, everybody says you and i are so much alike, peas in a
pod, and you having this 8:00 show, shows this. we approach how to do this work very differently. our shows will be very different. one of the reasons i like talking to you about big difficult problems that don't have easy answers like this, i feel like you have a good mul - multi-approach towards difficult things. you look at the va backlog, getting this renewed attention. you look at the fact there's no bipartisan disagreement on this whatsoever yet it is getting worse, what do you think is the way out of it? >> i think there's a few fascinating things. one is it makes us think what is the actual political power veterans in our society have because in some ways the proof is in the pudding, right? there's the rhetorical honor they are granted and then there's the actual power that they have. the way you look at power in a political system like ours is outcomes. this says something about the power and the stature that veterans actually have in
american society opposed to the society -- the amount of power or stature we tell ourselves they have. >> all the lip service we pay and all the emotional comfort we gain from entertaining ourselves from the idea we are treating veterans well is worth very little to someone who can't get in the va to get a first mental health appointment. >> the proof is in the pudding. there are institutional limitations we are bumping up against because of the sheer volume. this is not to excuse it. it massively changes the brea bureaucracy and the bureaucracy's operation to scale it at the scale. it doesn't matter what institution it is and processing, whether a factory making well inning gitte ing wi there are institutional limits you will run up against to try to scale it. that goes back to the original sin here, which are the wars themselves. we were able to marshall a level of social consensus and marshall
a level of resources on the front end. we told ourselves we wouldn't forget about it on the back end again. there's something fundamental and deep about the way a nation goes to war and its kind of politics when it's going into a war and when it's coming out that is being revealed here, i think. what we are able to marshall in the frenzy of the nation getting together to go to war is -- it looks very different on the other side of that war no matter how committed individuals are or citizens are which i think they are. politicians are committed. i think citizens are committed to this, right? >> the feeling is real. >> it's not faked. but it is a very different thing on the front end than back end. >> in terms of veterans' political power, they know when you talk to veterans' groups, they realize lip service i say it sounds cynical, the emotional appeal they can engender, the way they can get people to feel about their service, the fact we marketed in commercials to make people feel good about home comings and all these things
when they are the ones trying to turn that into something that is more concrete, more policy based. are there any examples? is there anything that we know from social movements in america or from balance of power in america about how best to make those things work? >> i think a, marshaling shame, our shame, the shame of the country for failing in the photos we've seen has been effective in the past, right? i also think what we've seen is, this is something you've covered a lot, a lot of veterans coming out of iraq and afghanistan have organized as a political force and done the things that organi organizing any constituency in american politics does to organize, to put direct pressure on elected officials to join your forces in coalition. there have been many effective intervention among others on secrete policy issues to do that. it's just the fact there's no solved problem at the end of it. the way the hydraulics of american democracy work they come to rest in a place of
either apathy or more for the people in power. you just have to keep working against that. no amount of conceptual rhetorical or emotional commitment by our leaders or citizens is going to permanently secure for veterans what they deserve. >> hearing them speak for themselves as articulately and forcefully they have been through groups like this make me encouraged. see, glad to talk to you about this stuff. the whole building is excited. it premieres at 8:00 monday. we'll be right back. we'll be right back. amonday. we'll be right back. smonday. we'll be right back. tmonday. we'll be right back. eastemonday. we'll be right back. rmonday. we'll be right back. nmonday. we'll be right back. eastern monday. we'll be right back. ... c-max also gets better mpg. say hi to the super fuel efficient ford c-max hybrid.
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last week in the texas panhandle, this happened. we are the first news organization to show you these pictures. look at this. oil and gas workers were fracking in hempville county, texas. that is, they were forcing water and other chemicals down a pipe into the ground, at very high pressure to get at oil they otherwise could not get at. but in this case, this happened last week, something went wrong. and the casing failed. a seven-inch-wide pipe failed catastrophically, basically explosively and that launched what they call the frac stack into the air. javelining it into a nearby truck, as you can see in this picture. amazingly, nobody was killed. there was only one injury
associated with this accident. one concussion. oil industry veteran bob cavnar who blogs put us on to in this week. this is incredible. that frac stack which went applying which hempville county is part of the truck -- it's like a blowout preventer, you might remember from the "deepwater horizon" disaster. the frac stack is supposed to function sort of like that, to keep the well head under control if something goes wrong. well, this is the hole where the well head used to be after this kerfuffle in hempville county. spectacular and very visible failure in the world's most profitable industry is often a very, very visible form of failure. and in that regard, i see you hempville, texas, fracking accident and i raise you the career of one very senior shell oil executive. a very weird story. that's coming up.
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staples. that was easy. america, meet david lawrence. david lawrence, meet been a high-level executive for the shell oil corporation for 29 long glorious and profitable years. he is the executive vice president of exploration and commercial for shell's upstream americas division, which is a fancy way of saying that he drills the americas for shell. last year, shell's drilling operations in the americas got a big boost when the federal government gave shell specifically the okay to start drilling in the arctic. lots of oil companies wanted that, but shell is the one who got the go ahead. and it was david lawrence who was put in charge of that. as shell was gearing up to start drilling in the arctic, mr. lawrence gave an interview to dow jones, in which he predicted drilling in the arctic would be, quote, relatively easy. that turned out to be relatively wrong. after getting the permits to start drilling, shell just made
a hash of it. these are the two rigs they sent up there to start drilling. the one on of the left is called the "discoverer", the one on the right called the kulic. last summer, the discoverer ran aground. four months after that, it had a fire break out in its engine room. then the u.s. coast found more than a dozen violations involving the rig's safety and pollution equipment. for example, the main engine pistons cooling water was contaminated with sludge and oil. the crew was skimming off the oil in a ladle in a bucket. that's nice. safety violations led the coast guard to essentially detain that rig in port. and then they referred it to the justice department to see if shell was guilty of criminal violations there too. so that was the "discoverer." the other shell drilling rig is the "cullic" which did run aground. went to drift and eventually crashed into an island off the coast of southern alaska.
stranded there for days before they were finally able to drag it away. there's new news to report tonight. the news it too is now facing a federal criminal investigation. coast guard officials saying today they have completed their investigation into the kuluk and asked the justice department to review potential violations they turned up. so both of shell's two arctic drilling rigs, the only two they sent up there, now find themselves under the eye of the united states justice department. but remember, drilling in the alaskan arctic is relatively easy. this is probably a good time to tell you that earlier this week mr. don't worry we've got this, arctic drilling is going to be easy peasy, announced he is stepping down from shell after 29 years with the company. there has long been an effort to open up the arctic for drilling. let's let the oil companies run wild up there. nobody knows how to deal with the stuff better than they do.